This is a pivotal time for our communications ecosystem. As we cede control to governments and corporations—and as they take it away from us—we are risking a most fundamental liberty, the ability to freely speak and assemble. Let’s not trade our freedom for convenience.

The New Editors of the Internet - The Atlantic

Content moderation in the age of anonymous apps is a far trickier game than for social networks of the past. The safety of their communities will make or break Secret, Whisper, and Yik Yak. We’ve seen the likes of other anonymous sites — like Juicy Campus and Formspring.me — felled by vicious cyberbullying. Chatroullete infamously went the same way, although its downfall was naked men instead of mean people. Whisper has been testing, developing, and honing its TaskUs enabled vetting practices for years. Using a full-time team devoted to the job — instead of freelancers sourced through Crowdflower or Mechanical Turk — allows it to take a mass approach to content filtering. Moderators look at Whispers surfaced by both machines and people: Users flag inappropriate posts and algorithms analyze text and images for anything that might have slipped through the cracks. That way, the company is less likely to miss cyberbullying, sex, and suicide messages. Moderators delete the bad stuff, shuffle cyberbullies into a “posts-must-be-approved-before-publishing” category, and stamp suicide Whispers with a “watermark” — the number for the National Suicide Hotline.

Meet the anonymous app police fighting bullies and porn on Whisper, Yik Yak, and potentially Secret — Tech News and Analysis

A new internet safety report from Ofcom detailing network filters has revealed that the majority of the United Kingdom has opted into being able to view pornography online. Only very small percentages of UK ISP customers have opted to use porn filters; 4% of Virgin Media customers, 5% of BT, and 8% of Sky. However, the numbers only tally new customers that are offered the choice of the filters during account activation, and don’t make note of customers who may decide to turn on the filters at a later date. Ofcom found that around 42% of internet-enabled homes already had broadband filters, so perhaps customers simply didn’t want to double down on internet censorship.

Almost all of England actively chose to view internet porn | News | Geek.com

The 10-day block comes after anonymous changes were made to entries on politicians and businesses, as well as events like the Kennedy assassination. The biography of former US defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld was edited to say that he was an “alien lizard”.

BBC News - Wikipedia blocks ‘disruptive’ page edits from US Congress

"The prevailing norms, which the overwhelming majority of Singaporeans accept, support teaching children about conventional families, but not about alternative, non-traditional families, which is what the books in question are about," Minister of Communications and Information Yaacob Ibrahim said Friday. He added: "Societies are never static, and will change over time. But NLB’s approach is to reflect existing social norms, and not to challenge or seek to change them." It was not clear how and when the books will be destroyed.

Singapore backs call to destroy gay-themed books

In Friday’s turnabout, the company told The Guardian that several links to its articles had been reinstated in Google’s European search service after the newspaper complained. Some of the articles were from 2010 about a soccer referee, now retired, who had been accused of lying about why he had awarded a penalty kick in a match in Scotland. Google declined to explain why it had removed the links this week, or its reasons for honoring The Guardian’s request to restore them. Critics said the episode highlighted a lack of transparency about how Google is carrying out the court order as it works through requests it has received for removing information, a number that has reached 70,000 and continues to grow.

Google Reinstates European Links to Articles From The Guardian - NYTimes.com

If upheld and then emulated by courts in other countries, said Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, the Internet could go from being perceived as a lawless place to “one where all courts apply” setting up conflicts between nations on several issues, particularly freedom of expression. “The judge recognizes that there is this global impact but doesn’t really want to deal with it,” said Professor Geist, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet law. “Where this decision goes off the rails is when the court decides its order making power is limitless.”

Canadian Judge Says Google Must Remove Links Worldwide - NYTimes.com

Twitter, Facebook blocked in Iraq

Internet users in Iraq have been blocked from visiting Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media sites out of fear that extremists are using the services to plot attacks, according to multiple reports on Friday.

The apparent outage comes amid heightened tensions in the nation, which seems to be heading towards a sectarian civil war. Sunni extremists backed by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) have marched through Mosul and Tikrit in recent days, and seem to be headd for Baghdad.

» via The Hill’s Hillicon Valley

Facebook claims to be in favor of free speech, and talks about protecting political expression, but they are not,” said Shahzad Ahmad of the group Bytes for All Pakistan, which campaigns for Internet freedom and has gone to court several times seeking to lift government restrictions in Pakistan.”For the sake of their own profits and business, they are caving in to anything the government demands.

Facebook Under Fire for Temporarily Blocking Pages in Pakistan - NYTimes.com

“We can block Twitter or Facebook in Russia tomorrow within a few minutes,” said Maksim Ksenzov, the deputy chairman at the Roskomnadzor agency, in an interview with a Russian newspaper published on Friday. “We do not see any risks in that.”

“If at any point we believe that the consequences of ‘switching off’ social networks will be less significant than the damage done to Russian society by the unconstructive position of the leadership of international companies, we will do what we have to under the law,” he added.

Russia threatens to ban Twitter - in minutes | TheHill